To chemists, opiate drugs are very much the same. They all begin life as the same type of molecule, and they all attach to the same receptors inside the cells of the brain. Once attached, they all trigger the same type of physiological responses and bring about the same type of chemical reactions. In short, they’re all much the same. However, opiate drugs can vary a bit in terms of their levels of addictiveness. In fact, some opiates seem to be slightly more addictive than others.
Prescription opiates like Vicodin and Percocet aren’t considered remarkably addictive simply because they don’t contain pure opioids. These medications are designed to assist people who have pain from a surgery or from a chronic condition, and they often benefit from anti-inflammatory ingredients like aspirin and acetaminophen. Combining drugs in this way can bring about profound relief, but it can make these drugs a little less appealing to abuse, as people might need to take many pills in order to experience a high.
The prescription painkiller OxyContin was once considered the gold standard in terms of addiction, as this particular pill contained pure levels of opioids. Users could abuse this drug by:
- Crushing the pills
- Mixing the powder with water
- Loading that liquid into a needle
- Injecting the liquid into the veins
In 2010, the manufacturer of OxyContin changed formulas, making the pills difficult to crush and nearly impossible to inject. According to a news analysis, addiction rates dropped from 35.6 percent of people who entered treatment programs to 12.8 percent, once the changed pills hit the market. However, some people do continue to abuse this drug by simply swallowing the pills. Those who do might still find that the drug is hard to kick.
At the top of the scale of opiate drugs is heroin. This drug is considered “extremely addictive,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as it has the ability to reach brain cells rapidly. There are no fillers to work around and no digestive system to avoid. People can simply shoot up the drug and walk away feeling serene. According to experts, this is the most addictive form of opiate available, simply because it is so very potent and powerful.
No matter what type of opiate a person uses, it’s quite difficult for people to stop once they have started. The brain becomes accustomed to the constant presence of drugs, and it can be uncomfortable or painful when people attempt to stop taking the drugs they’ve been using for years or even decades.
Thankfully, opiate addiction treatment programs can help. Here, people have access to medications that can smooth the transition from addiction to sobriety, and they have contact with therapists and other experts who can help them to learn how to live without opiates. This is the kind of help we provide at Black Bear Lodge, and we’d like to tell you more about it.
We’re located in the peaceful foothills of Georgia, and we provide a safe and serene place for healing. Our evidence-based opiate addiction treatment program allows for thorough, holistic care, which includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, commitment therapy, art therapy and other elements of care. Please call us and we’ll tell you more.